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Sail Northland welcomes volunteers to be involved at all levels of our organisation.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, contribute to your community, share experience and  learn new skills.

Our sailing instruction programmes run 3-4 days a week over the summer season, October - April.

Sailing is a sport for everyone and our volunteer ages range from our teenage high school sailors , our parents and our retired sailors.


We have a great bunch of friendly, helpful and competent volunteers  who help the coaches with the sailing, set up and our administration.

If you are interested in helping out and being involved please contact us here


Ken (Billy) Bilyard is one of our original volunteers and has been with us right from the beginning in summer of 2016. 


Billy is our boat builder for the big jobs - the 420 sailors (you know who you are!) are lucky to have a competent tradesman available to mend our old boats.


His whole life has been arranged around boats – either building or sailing them.


The very first little boat he built was at the age of 5 – with a bit of help from his Dad.


One fact - he didn’t start life as a sailor - the first family boat he built in Hamilton back in the 70’s was a 20ft cabin cruiser called Twinkle.  After that there has been a series of boats, Noelex 22, Tracker and finally a  Lotus 9.2.   The boats got progressively bigger as the family got older.  


Andante, Ken and Diane's Lotus 9.2, was launched in 1984 and is still looking good out in Parua Bay.


He finally gave in and got a Takacat (rubber ducky) a few years ago but until then all the dinghies have been built in the shed too.


Ken is always generous with his time and expertise and has helped a fair few boaties get their boats on the water.  He has been the repair boat at Team Sailing nationals for three years.  The Whangarei Teams love him being there and he is legendary to the Nelson Boys team.   


Ken grew up in the Waikato, boating out of Whangamata and in the lakes.  He knows almost every nook and cranny from Tauranga up to the Three Kings.  He has also sailed up to and in the islands and is a life member of Musket Cove Yacht club.  These days Billy prefers to just go with the flow and head off up north in Andante for holidays.  


Billy  has a great sense of humour (sometimes a little mischievous in fact) and living locally keeps returning to help the team out whether it’s on the water or to fix up a boat or two, as well as catch up with friends and family.  We are very lucky to have him as part of our team.


Billy and his lovely wife Diane have 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren (who all live in Whangarei).  You may have already met them, as they are often part of the team and our sailing family.  Billy is always keen for a chat and a catch up, so don’t forget to say hello next time you see him down at sailing.

Life of a Volunteer...

Kay No 2.jpg

Life of a Volunteer...

I have spent time on boats, sailing with friends. I have learnt heaps over the last 4 years being a volunteer.

I have 4 grown children and 7 grandchildren.  3 living in NZ and 1 in America.

I am not an instructor but I am a volunteer. I really enjoy being with children and seeing the delight in their wee faces when they achieve sailing or just trying their hardest.  I believe sailing is not for everyone but to those that love it, it is so neat to see.

I was born in Te Kopuru where my parents farmed before shifting to Okaihau and then to Kaipara Flats.  I started school in Tauhoa before shifting to Kamo and attending the 3 schools there.  I left school and worked in Arthurs Pharmacy in Kamo, then married and owned a farm in Whangarei.  I worked at a childcare centre in Whangarei before shifting to Cambridge where I worked at Cambridge Vets for 10 years.  Then I shifted to Hamilton for children’s schooling, where I owned a home-based childcare.  On retiring we shifted to Parua Bay and here I am at the sailing.


Funniest thing at sailing was talking to 2 children on an Opti.  Told them you girls are doing well, one answered hey he is a boy so I lifted his helmet and said wow you are a boy and you are so handsome, covering myself LOL, then the girl answered he is eh he is my boyfriend, the boy said she is my girlfriend. The girl told me her auntie said to find her a boy for her as she chooses well, so told them to hold onto each other, they giggled, and off they sailed so happy. Cute as.

My aim in life now is to be happy, and I love helping children.  Seeing them happy makes my day.  My belief is to Inhale Courage and Exhale Fear.

By Kay Jenkin
Shore Base Co-ordinator

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